Comfortable and Furious

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Was this more disappointing than your first sexual encounter?

Well, no, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t horribly, horribly disappointing. Like, nobody is expecting anybody to make another Raiders of the Lost Ark. Fuck, I didn’t really feel all that strongly about the other two films, although I love the Indy character. But I was hoping for something better than National Treasure.

Is the plot centered around aliens and psychics?

Yes. This came as a complete shock, because I only knew there was some shit about Inca/Mayan (they are constantly confused in the screenplay) relics that were skulls. What was cool about the other films was that they centered on mythologies that weren’t exactly plausible, but they were what you could call movie-plausible because they were ancient, Western mythologies as opposed to theories that the nutjobs who go on “Coast to Coast AM” have formulated over the past 40 years and actually believe to be true. We’ve got remote viewers in the cold war battling over Roswell findings and the ancient civilizations having been guided by aliens.

This has never been a theory I’ve fully understood, because while the pyramids and shit are amazing, why would aliens come all that way to show people how to build a pyramid, as opposed to say, a space ship or even a telephone. Meanwhile, this story makes no sense. Like, the Russians think, for no identifiable reason, that alien skulls can be used for mass mind control and then the good guys get the alien skull and decide to put it on the alien body for no real reason, then the alien who’s “treasure is knowledge” gives the Russian chick so much knowledge that her head explodes while all the good guys run away from the treasured knowledge.

Did Professor Indiana Jones use the word ‘Libary?’

I’m like 95% sure that he did.

Novelty Deaths

I was concerned about a “Greedo Shoots First” approach here, but there were some solid ones. First, a bunch of Russians are burned alive by the exhaust from a test rocket. Also Indy puts his mouth over the blow gun of a savage who is poised to fire, and blows the dart back into the guy’s throat. There was also this thing with CGI ants, but it sucked.

How bad was it really?

Terrible. There’s a level of craft to everything. Ford doesn’t look too old and produces a solid performance. Spielberg and Lucas produce a visually solid film and you might actually feel some reflexive tension while slapping your forehead as Indy and his crew go over three consecutive, huge waterfalls and nobody is hurt at all. Then the Russians, who are following them, last seen stuck on the side of a cliff heading down to the same river with no boat, suddenly show up hot on Indy’s trail and not even wet, all the way down river. The temples and relics and so forth are really cool looking.

But you will only see failure when Indy’s greaser son suddenly manifests the ability to swing through the jungle on vines like Tarzan, going from vine to vine until he catches speeding cars that had left him behind like five minutes ago. I mean, I could go on about this shit forever, but there is seriously about one completely impossible thing per minute in the film, and another thing that is just stupid, like how the military base/nuclear testing facility that houses The Ark and Roswell aliens is guarded by a grand total of like five guys. These are, incidentally, the only five guys that the Russians are able to hit with the thousands of rounds they fire in the film. I never thought I would say it, but these are worse marksmen than the commies in First Blood Part II.

Was Jar-Jar Binks in it?

No, but the first part of the film is basically a family oriented sitcom with multiple appearances by anthropomorphized , CGI ground hogs. There’s also a nice America’s Funniest Home Videos moment where Jones III is fighting the evil Russian chick with swords while straddling two moving Jeeps and things keep hitting him in… wait for it… the balls!!

Should I see this or Iron Man?

Pornography. But, if you must, I guess this. The critical response to Iron Man absolutely floored me, although I didn’t hate the film. It’s just very cut, paste and bore. Unlike Iron Man, Indiana Jones doesn’t listen to old Suicidal Tendencies. But I think the craft of this film is more worthwhile than total lack of imagination in Iron Man, and plus the Indiana Jones film possesses a certain MST3K quality.